Welcome 2 Our World Sports Club in Wisbech celebrated its first birthday in January 2017. To mark the success of the club Living Sport has produced a video all about the impact the club has made on the families that attend. The club attracts 50 families, all of whom have at least one child with additional needs, many with autism.
Living Sport supported the set-up of the club that started in January 2016 with funding received from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation. The clubs aim was to give families in Fenland activities that they could attend as a family that took into account their children needs. The sports club runs fortnightly on a Saturday afternoon at the New Vision Wisbech (Hudson Leisure Centre). The club has exclusive use of the leisure centre and alternate activities between the sport hall and swimming pool. They always have use of the soft play area and the sensory room. Consideration is given to the space used for activities, including the impact of acoustics and lighting. A time-out and relaxation space is made available in case of overload. By offering these, the project is addressing the potential outcome (barrier) of families feeling they have to leave if their child finds coping difficult at any time as they will have an opportunity to calm down in a safe space within the sports club.
Sports club is a chance for families to meet other families in similar circumstances and support each other, as well as siblings and children with additional needs being able to meet new people and join in with fun activities together. In a relatively short space of time the club has developed, with the support of a small committed band of volunteers and parents, to be a self-supporting group. They now deliver their own sessions at the club and are developing new activities, like day trips and social occasions, for the families to get together and experience an ‘ordinary life’ in a supportive, safe environment. These families wouldn’t have come together to arrange such things without the existence of this Sports Club.
The children are now developing their own games and saying what they want to do, making new friends and playing team games which they wouldn’t normally do in a different environment. Taking part in physical activities has helped the children improve social skills, team work, coordination and physical literacy leading to them having improved independence, self-confidence and emotional well-being.
Jayne Denby the founder of Welcome 2 Our World is delighted with the success of the Sports Club and commented
“Many of our families have been unable to participate in sport in the past due to the nature of their child’s disability. The club’s aims were to overcome the barriers they have faced and promote and enable disabled children, their parents/carers and siblings to have fun together in an exclusive and supportive environment. The overall aim of the club is to promote and enable families to adopt a healthy lifestyle, to improve their overall health both physical and mental and to improve the child’s/young person’s sporting and social skills. We actively engage children/young people of all abilities in team games, swimming, and soft play. Many of the children and their families have faced isolation and loneliness. The club is improving all the outcomes for the whole family and is continuing to grow and develop to support the families that come to them”.
To ensure the club remains sustainable there is a cost to attending each session: £6 for a child with additional needs, £1 for a sibling, and parents go free but must stay at the session. Anyone interested in joining the club should talk to Jayne Denby firstname.lastname@example.org call 01945 410071 or visit their website www.w2ow.org.uk